September 20, 2021

Qatar To Host Paris-Saint Germain Winter Tour Early 2022

Paris-Saint Germain, France’s most prominent football club, are returning to Doha for their 2021/22 season training camp. The team, including first-team players, will land in Qatar on January 16th and spend a week in and around the capital. Having visited Qatar on five previous occasions in the last nine years, some players, including Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Ángel Di María, Marquinhos, will be familiar with the tiny nation and all it has to offer. For some, such as newly signed Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum and, of course, Lionel Messi, it will be their first trip to Qatar with the club.

Why Qatar?

Other than the exceptional weather in Qatar in January - daily high temperatures are around 71°F (21.6°C) and rarely fall below 64°F (17.7°C) - and the country’s top-notch sports facilities, Paris-Saint Germain (PSG) are tangibly linked to Qatar by their owners, Qatar Sports Investments(QSi). Founded in 2004, QSi is a sports and leisure investment company. The company acquired PSG in 2011. And, under the investment companies wing, PSG has been transformed into the most successful French club in history, winning twenty-five of its forty-three trophies in the last nine years alone. As part of PSG’s ongoing relationship with QSi, whose remit includes expanding sports development at home in Qatar, they have also teamed up with the country’s National Tourism Council (QNTC). The QNTC is working to position the Arab nation as a tourist destination of the future, in part, by promoting sports and leisure tourism. Alongside the excitement surrounding the upcoming FIFA 2022 World Cup, having one of the world’s most famous teams and players visit Qatar is ideal for showcasing the country, its sports facilities, tourist attractions, weather, and culture.

PSG in Qatar

During the winter tour, the PSG team will primarily train at Doha’s Aspire Zone, the country’s world-class sports training complex, which includes the 2022 World Cup venue, Khalifa International Stadium. However, the team will also participate in activities and events that support their sponsors and partners in promoting sports and leisure tourism. 

On their 2019 tour, the PSG squad went out into the desert on a 4x4 monster bus. They experienced Qatari culture camping in the dunes, drinking and eating Qatari fare, and riding camels across the dunes. The team also spent time sailing on traditional dhow boats in the city’s harbour and checking out the country’s history in the newly opened Msheireb Museums. When the squad weren’t training or sampling and promoting the abundance of leisure activities on offer, they also got the chance to meet many of their local supporters, particularly those at the Paris-Saint Germain Academy - a football training school for children 4 to 18. 

In 2022, the team will head back to the Academy (to the delight of their younger fans) and will undoubtedly attend the numerous new venues and attractions that have opened up in Qatar in the last two years. The FIFA 2022 World Cup stadiums must surely be on the list. Since the club was last in Qatar, two more stadiums have been inaugurated, Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan and Education City Stadium. Al Khor Stadium has been completed and will host the opening and closing matches of the upcoming 2021 Arab Cup during its inauguration. And Al Thumama and Ras Abu Aboud Stadiums are due to be completed and inaugurated before the end of 2021. They may also get to experience the wonders of the new National Museum of Qatar, Lusail City or even the newest theme park to the country, Desert Falls Water and Adventure Park - there are plenty of options to choose from.

Messi in Qatar

After leaving Barcelona during the summer, Messi joined PSG on a two-year contract. Considered the best player in the world and widely acclaimed as one of the greatest players of all time, the former Barca star is a welcome addition to the French club. Not only is Messi a phenomenal player and an attacking threat that any squad would be keen to play alongside, but his star quality will also elevate his teammates and bring a boost to the changing rooms. In addition to which, his signing is a huge PR coup for the club, raising its profile in world football to lofty heights.

For Messi, he has embarked on a new challenge, with a myriad of opportunities on the horizon - trophies, acclaim and an even closer relationship with the FIFA World Cup as, ultimately, his new boss is the Emir of Qatar and host of the 2022 tournament.

For Qatar, the signing has dream timing. As hosts of the 2022 World Cup, Messi’s new association with Qatar will bring the host nation into sharper focus, especially when the soccer superstar touches down in Doha. For a country with a keen desire to promote its growing world-class sports industry, alongside its cultural offering and tourist attractions, Messi has the kudos to attract a wider audience.

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Published: September 20, 2021
Last updated: September 20, 2021
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